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INSEAD profile evaluation please!

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Joined: 29 Mar 2018
Posts: 4
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New post 16 May 2018, 02:24
Hi All,

Greatly appreciated if you could evaluate my profile.
My biggest concerns are:

1) Age - 31 at matriculation (I know INSEAD tends to be more accepting of older applicants)
2) Changing jobs 1.5 years before expected intake . . . not ideal, but I felt the move was necessary (details below)
3) Not sure how adcom views PR industry. I, too, am skeptical of PR (press events, etc.), but have had the unique experience to directly consult C-suite level on communications strategy.

29 year old American.
Looking to apply for January 2020 intake, so 31 at matriculation.

3.77 from the University of Washington (Seattle); graduated cum laude and Dean’s List each quarter.
One year direct exchange in Tokyo; all coursework in Japanese

Taking next month, but let’s assume 700.
My weakness is quant, but partner has a PhD in mathematics, so I think this is manageable with hardwork.

Work experience
3 years at a mid-sized Japanese trading company (uniquely Japanese concept, but essentially a middleman company) as in account manager for Japanese clients in Japan and overseas. My role was an account manager for Japanese clients in the auto industry (company is well-rounded, but I was place in the auto division), servicing both domestic and global needs including monthly production control, quality control, new project bidding, and developing global network to shift production overseas (travelled extensive to Southeast Asia and North America to exhibit at expos and find new partners).

4 years at a Japanese PR firm (3 years Tokyo; 1 year Beijing), under a major advertising conglomerate and one of Japan’s most prestigious companies. After my previous company, I was burned out from the auto industry (one project can take 5 years) and too much technical work with the manufacturers (I am not an engineer), so I transitioned to communications to work in multiple industries to discover my interests. In Japan my company is the leading PR firm, and part of a larger network that used to be the most desired employer in Japan (until an employee suicide a few years ago). Working for one for overseas offices now, name value is not so high, but in Japan the company is no joke. My job title is “consultant” where my role is account management (approximately 5-10 accounts simultaneously) for Fortune 500 companies, startups and government organizations, and my responsibilities are planning and execution of global communication campaigns (in and out), direct reporting to top management in English, and also serving as the global liaison for our external partners (one being a major French ad agency, whose current CEO is also an INSEAD alum and promoted in their school brochure) and for global clients whose account I do not work on, but for reporting purposes, am occasionally needed (APAC HQ of major blue-chip companies).

A few notes about work experience:
1) Technically I quit the Japan office in summer 2017 and was rehired at the Beijing office. The company sponsored my paperwork and all, but salary is in accordance with the local market, much higher than the local staff but still a considerable pay cut compared to Japan. My fiancé recently relocated to Beijing from California, and I spoke considerable Mandarin at the point and had been to China approximately 30 times for business, so I had the itch to leave Japan and try it out.
2) I will leave this Beijing office after 11 months (exactly 4 years including 3 years 1 month in Japan). Ideally I wanted to stick it out through MBA applications and leave later on, but unfortunately I find the company I joined to be unfulfilling (despite being a Japanese company our global HQ is UK, company culture is entirely different, and would rather just work for a Western competitor) and the air pollution is simply too much to bear daily.
3) My new role in HK leverages my experiences from both jobs: manufacturing X communications, but I will have much more responsibility in Asian business development. I was extremely hesitant to change jobs ahead of b-school applications, but strongly felt there was no reason to waste any more time in Beijing when an attractive offer presented itself (my fiancé is also from HK and will be relocating a new university position here). I hope that 1.5 years with most recent employer at matriculation is not a reason to get dinged (searching on LinkedIn at alum, it appears I should be fine).
4) Job promotions – in Japan promotions are 100% based on your age. Aside from being promoted to “lifetime employee”, I do not have any major promotions to my name. However, I believe top communications experience (reporting directly to CMO and CEO of several well-known companies), leading project teams of up to 20 persons, as well as accompanying our CEO for international business trips, demonstrates my leadership

International experience/languages
Japan (7 years work/internship; 1 year for undergrad): complete fluency in Japanese. One of the INSEAD essay prompts is “accomplishment you are most proud of”, here I think I will explain how I was promoted to “lifetime employment status” within my first year as a contract worker on one-year contract (5 years max), becoming the first foreigner in company history.

China (1 year in Beijing for work): advanced mandarin, comfortable holding meetings, writing emails/documents, and conducting research in Chinese. I even hosted in Chinese a media event to announce M&A of two group companies. Still have considerable ways to go to reach same level of command as my Japanese, but will easily satisfy INSEAD language requirements.

Hong Kong (moving to HK in a few weeks where I plan to work 1.5 years for January 2020 intake): my future role is at a Japanese company, and focus on business development in mainland China and APAC.

Additionally, not sure if you get bonus points for French, but I believe even my French would test out of the language requirements, being my first foreign language and having visited France for business numerous times.

Extracurricular activities
2013.1-2013.9 – Tokyo 2020 Olympics Bid – Personally requested by then Tokyo Governor to manage his person social media accounts, disseminating English content to foreign media audiences, to convey Japan’s passion for hosting the games. I was given complete control over the content.

2015-2017 – Young Cannes Lions Competition Japan (PR) – 2015 Bronze medalist (3rd out of 140) and 2016 finalist (5th out of 205); first two-time finalist. For those unfamiliar, it is an idea contest held at the local country level for professionals in the industry under 30 years of age, with the winning group then going to the Cannes festival to compete against other winners. There are 8 different categories (Ad, PR, social media, etc.), and contestants are given 24 hours to make a proposal for a particular issue (human trafficking, #metoo, water conservation, etc.). As a two-time finalist I had to compete approximately 4 weekends/year preparing for the competition, as well as brainstorming sessions for future topics and info sessions for future participants several times throughout the year. I wanted to join this year in China but my CEO vetoed it because she thought it was a waste of time, but may join again next year (last year of eligibility). On a side note, this competition is sponsored by Accenture, IBM, Deloitte and PwC.

Career goals: why INSEAD and why an MBA?

1) INSEAD best positions me to land a job with an MBB firm. As a consultant at a PR firm I had the unique opportunity to work directly and extensively with C-suite level, consulting on communications strategy and stakeholder relations, but I would like to take my career to the next level and transition to management consulting. During my time in Japan I jointly managed a project for the Prime Minister’s Office with MBB, and in Beijing we share an office with another MBB firm, so this exposure has me yearning for something better.

2) If the MBB route is not viable, I will still pursue other consulting roles or a senior position in marketing, and want the MBA on my resume to make my candidacy more competitive. During my recent job search in Hong Kong I came across several attractive marketing positions that explicitly stated MBA preferred. However, if the INSEAD is not an option, I am comfortable pursuing a part-time MBA at HKUST or HKU to fulfill this goal.

INSEAD School Moderator
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Farrell D Hehn: MBA
Re: INSEAD profile evaluation please!  [#permalink]

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New post 17 May 2018, 01:16
Male or female?
Farrell Dyan, MBA Admissions Consultant
Verified reviews posted on
Joined: 29 Mar 2018
Posts: 4
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New post 17 May 2018, 01:23
Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 32
Concentration: General Management, Strategy
Re: INSEAD profile evaluation please!  [#permalink]

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New post 18 May 2018, 09:55
Please evaluate my profile.

10th - 88
12th - 82
Btech Marine Engineering - 8.44 (BITS, Pilani)

Work experience - 3 years with 2 promotions
Presently sailing as 4th Engineer ( Merchant Navy)
Maersk Line study scholarship for good performance during internship

Extra Curricular :
1. TMISAT all India topper
2. Scholarship in all semesters spent in my Institute
3. Cultural Head for various events
4. INMUN, Delhi
5. Committee Member for All India Level festival
Various certification courses

Post MBA Goals : To work in Shipping company / Oil gas major with specialisation in Strategy Management.

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GMAT Club Bot
Re: INSEAD profile evaluation please!   [#permalink] 18 May 2018, 09:55
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